The Spanish Football Federation issued a compelling call to action on Monday, urging 39 women’s national team players to return to the fold, just ahead of the inaugural squad announcement under new coach Montse Tome.
Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup this August marked the beginning of a turbulent period for the team. Former president Luis Rubiales’ controversial actions, which included forcibly kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso, cast a shadow over the triumph.
In protest against Rubiales’ refusal to step down, the entire World Cup-winning squad and numerous other players initiated a strike, plunging the team into turmoil. Ultimately, Rubiales resigned amid unprecedented criticism and now faces legal consequences related to sexual assault and coercion over the unwanted kiss. Additionally, the incident led to the dismissal of the contentious coach, Jorge Vilda.
Despite these significant changes, 39 players, including most of the World Cup champions, remained resolute in their strike until further conditions were met, notably the restructuring of certain areas within the Spanish federation.
Reports from Spain on Monday indicated that none of the 39 striking players would make themselves available for the upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland, which Coach Tome would announce later in the day.
The RFEF, now under the interim leadership of President Pedro Rocha, issued a heartfelt plea for the players to reconsider their stance. It emphasized the ongoing need for solid and equitable changes within the federation and recognized the difficult decisions made in recent days.
The statement appears to be a final attempt to entice back the striking players, including the two-time Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas.
The RFEF reaffirmed its commitment to fostering a safe and trusting environment for the players while acknowledging the necessity of structural reforms. It expressed a shared vision of advancing women’s football and showcasing the star symbolizing their World Cup victory.
In the midst of these challenges, the call for unity and progress within the Spanish women’s national team remains resolute.